From the sea of Legos to the leaning towers of sippy cups, your child's endless belongings are often tougher to tame than she is. Time for some spring-cleaning—with the help of a one Marie Kondo. Yup, turns out those same life-changing tidying principles that saved your closet in 2015 can also take your kid's stuff from deranged mess to calm and collected. Here, five invaluable decluttering lessons.
Here’s How to KonMari All Your Kid's Stuff
Remember That Storage Is A Booby Trap
“Storage methods do not solve the problem on how to get rid of clutter.”
This is a big one, ladies. Don’t fall prey to thinking that storage is the solution to decluttering your kiddo’s belongings. It’s great to sort, organize and stow away what you don’t need, but it’s only a temporary solution. In other words, 300 Beanie Babies in a wicker basket are still 300 Beanie Babies you don’t need in your home. We know they’re cute—but it’s time to bring 'em to Goodwill.
Clean By Category, Not Location
“When we disperse storage of a particular item throughout the house, we can never grasp the overall volume and therefore can never finish.”
Translation: Don’t clean the your seven-year-old’s bedroom, then the playroom, then the garage. Go around collecting belongings by category instead—first a toy sweep, then a clothing sweep, book sweep, etc. The key is to see the sheer volume of each group, take an inventory and cut down accordingly. (There is such a thing as too many Matchbox cars.)
Sort Through Mementos Last
“The process of deciding what to keep and what to discard will go much more smoothly if you begin with items that are easier to make decisions about.”
Kondo insists that items that bring back memories should not be the first thing you sort through, since it’s easy to over-sentimentalize grungry baby blankies and sticky, old art projects. Instead, tackle the sentimental once you’ve already gained some momentum from successfully cleaning other, easier areas first. You’ll then be more able to discern what you keep (baby’s first shoes!) and what you toss (baby’s first puke-stained pajama set).
Don’t Let The Kids See
“There’s no need to let your family know the details of what you throw out or donate...Up to this point your family was perfectly happy with what they had.”
Listen up: Decluttering is not a time when you want your kid to help out. Little Suzy has no idea how many Barbies she has...and probably won’t notice when they’re gone. However, should she see you discarding them, she’ll likely have a massive tantrum and thwart your efforts. You’re a grown-up, and you get to make the decisions about what stays and what goes—so plan to declutter when Suzy’s off on a playdate.
Designate One Place Per Person
“To concentrate the belongings of each person in one spot is the most effective way for keeping storage tidy.”
It’s imperative that your little ones have their own space. Think separate dressers, and if possible, closets for each kid. This will help them learn the value of putting things back where they belong (ownership over one’s space and all), and there will never be any question of where to find what they’re looking for.